Minneapolis deck builder offers maintenance tips

Minneapolis deck builder offers maintenance tips

After working for 20 years in the construction business, Jim Funk found himself doing more and more side jobs in his free time and on the weekends. "My wife and I were getting married, and I was getting so much work from these side jobs I decided to make them my full-time job," he says. Funk founded Outdoor Solutions in 1997, and now has three crews and nine employees. "It's been a real blessing to be self-employed," Funk says.

Why should I consider adding a deck or porch to my home?

"For both decks and porches, you get most of your money back in resale value, but most people get them for the sheer enjoyment of living with them. Most people will use them far more than their other rooms and they really enjoy them. In Minnesota, probably 65 percent of our work is on decks and 35 percent is on screened porches or additions, like three- and four-season rooms."

What type of materials do you use?

"It's typically cedar or plastic composite. Budget-wise, cedar is probably the best choice. It has a longevity of 20 to 25 years and is resistant to termites and extreme weather. Composites are going to last longer, but the cost of materials and labor is greater. But composite decks are becoming more popular, because people will spend the extra dollars so they don't have to stain it."

What's the average price for a new deck or porch?

"It's a range. We can do a basic deck for $7,000 to $8,000 all the way up to about $50,000, which would be extremely nice. A screened porch starts at about $20,000, up to about $70,000 for a full addition. We honor the manufacturer's warranty on our materials, which is 10 years, but we'll replace things and maintain relationships beyond that 10-year warranty. We'll always take care of our clients."

What do I need to do to maintain my deck or porch?

"With cedar decks, it's a good thing to wash them yearly and stain them every couple of years with a linseed oil or other sealant. It does increase the longevity by a couple of years. A composite deck requires very little maintenance, but you should wash it a couple of times a year with just soap and water."

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